What are the Best Tires for Subaru Outback: Technical Review

Today we’ll review 4 of the best tires available today for the Subaru Outback.

The Subaru Outback has become an emblem of an active outdoor lifestyle, even more so than some SUVs on the market. Its versatility and ruggedized looks make it the best-selling wagon in America. Owners of Subaru Outback use it for everything including their daily commute, grocery runs, towing, weekend getaways, and even hiking and skiing trips.

Figure 1: Subaru Outback owners need tires that can match their step and have their back when the going gets tough. Source: Subaru.

In this article, we review the four best tires for your Subaru Outback. Our recommendations are based on four traits that we think will appeal to different types of Outback owners. 

1. Best All-Season Tire for Daily Use: Firestone WeatherGrip

Firestone WeatherGrip is an amazing all-season touring tire that has near perfect road manners for daily use and provides ample drivability even in light to moderate snow. It is ideal for a comfort-oriented consumer looking for a value tire for around-the-town driving all year long.

WeatherGrip already made it on our best all-season tires for snow list, where you can read more about its design. Here, you can also see that it offers best-in-class comfort and ride-quality, and is dependable in dry, wet, snowy, and even light icy conditions. Although the soft construction of this tire makes it hard to nail the racing line through the corners, it is perfectly adequate for your Subaru Outback.

Figure 2: Firestone WeatherGrip provides dependable performance and comfortable ride quality in all weather conditions. Source: Bridgestone Americas.

Firestone offers a 65,000 mile / 5-year limited mileage warranty on WeatherGrip, along with a 90-day buy and try guarantee. It is available for Subaru Outback at Vivid Racing for $155 for the 17” size and for $163 for the 18” size. With its 3PMSF rating, long tread life, and competitive gas mileage performance, WeatherGrip is an amazing value at this price.  

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON FIRESTONE WEATHERGRIP.

While WeatherGrip is a winner on road and on the highway, it is only suitable for very light off-road use. If you intend on taking your Outback for more than an occasional trip off the beaten path, we recommend that you take a look at the next category below.

Sources: Tire Rack; Firestone.

2. Best All-Season Tire for Rugged Use: Michelin CrossClimate SUV

Underneath Outback’s wagon-like silhouette, there is a vehicle that hauls and weighs as much as a mid-size SUV. If you plan on taking your Outback on rough roads, maybe for that weekend hiking trip to the mountains with camping gear in tow, you need tires that are rugged. Enter: Michelin CrossClimate SUV.

Figure 3: Michelin CrossClimate SUV sports full depth self-locking sipes and a unique directional V-shaped tread pattern. Source: Michelin.

Think of the CrossClimate SUV as the Outback’s spirit animal. It is as versatile as the Outback – designed for service under all conditions on all roads. There are not a lot of tires available in this category for the Outback, but the CrossClimate SUV is a rare gem. It is also 3PMSF rated and has a higher load index compared to all-season passenger tires.

Technically speaking, CrossClimate SUV has consistently led braking and handling tests under dry and wet conditions in its class. It performs extremely well even in severe snow, although snow braking could be improved marginally. CrossClimate SUV also posted the shortest braking distance on ice among the pack.

Figure 4: Michelin CrossClimate SUV has the lowest road noise of tires available for Subaru Outback, implying a quiet ride. Source: Tyre Reviews UK.

These results from CrossClimate SUV translate into a physics-defying balance between year-round performance, impressive drivability, and a quiet and comfortable ride. Gains in gas mileage are a cherry on top. Due to its reinforced construction and stiffer sidewall compared to the regular CrossClimate+, it will also tackle gravel and dirt roads with ease.

Michelin offers a 50,000-mile / 6year treadwear limited warranty on the CrossClimate SUV.

Buy your Michelin CrossClimate SUV at Vivid Racing today.

Sources: Tire Rack; Tyre Reviews UK; Michelin.

3. Best Winter Tire: Continental VikingContact 7

If you experience heavy snow during winters or like to take regular skiing trips in the mountains, winter tires deserve some serious thought. Even the best all-season tires do not come anywhere close to the performance of a dedicated winter tire in snow and ice. To avoid getting stuck or stranded, you will need a good winter tire to complement that legendary all-wheel drive system from Subaru.

Figure 5: With the right set of winter tires, the Outback can be an excellent snow trampling tool. Source: Cnet.

Continental VikingContact 7 is one the best stud-less winter tires out there. On top of providing heightened steering responsiveness and a controlled ride, VikingContact 7 offers class-leading traction in dry, wet, severe snow, and even ice. It has consistently posted shortest braking distances and high cornering G’s among its rivals in multiple independent tests.  

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON CONTINENTAL VIKINGCONTACT 7.

A representative at Continental told us, “Continental’s PolarPlus technology used in VikingContact 7 gives the tire tread strength in sub-zero temperatures. It improves traction in wet, snow, and icy conditions and improves driving experience.” In addition to having an athletic demeanor even in inclement weather, VikingContact 7 provides a quiet comfortable ride.  

Figure 6: Continental VikingContact 7 uses silica and rapeseed oil-based compounds in its treads, that are augmented by interlocking block bridges and 3D sipes. Source: Tire Rack.

Given that it’s a winter tire, Continental does not offer a treadwear warranty on the VikingContact 7. However, it does offer a free 60-day trial and a limited 12-month warranty on your purchase. They also have a very appealing roadside assistance program with this tire.

You can get your Continental VikingContact 7 at Vivid Racing today.

Sources: Tire Rack; Tyre Reviews UK; Continental; interview conducted with representative at Continental (10/13/2020).

4. Best All-Terrain All-Season Tire: Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015

Putting all-terrain tires on a Subaru Outback might be an unusual notion. Just like with any other SUV, owners that would use their Outback off-road significantly are rare. But with Subaru’s rally-bred pedigree and the ruggedized design of the Outback, an all-terrain tire would make a worthy companion. For those who are wild enough to do it, we will stick our neck out and recommend the Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015.

Figure 7: All-terrain tires can help your Outback get back in touch with its inner rally animal. Source: Motor Trend.

Putting on all-terrain tires is like wearing trekking shoes. They might not be best-suited or comfortable for every use but can go places where your sneakers would be out of their element. In the tire world, although the all-terrain tires can perform in all four seasons, they trade-off some of the drivability and ride-quality in favor of off-road capability.

Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 is merely adequate on dry, wet, or snow-laden roads compared to the tires we discussed above. However, it has superior traction relative to its competitors in dry and wet conditions. This manifests as shortest acceleration and braking distances, and highest cornering speeds during dynamic testing.

Figure 8: Geolandar A/T G015 features treads and sipes that enhances traction on all surfaces under all conditions. Source: Yokohama.

Geolandar A/T G015 has a 3PMSF rating for severe snow service, however, it drops somewhat behind the packs in this category. In our opinion, it is small compromise to make in favor of a tire that is excellent off-road due to its heavy-duty puncture resistance design. “Geolandar A/T GO15 is our all-terrain all-season offering for crossovers, trucks, and SUVs. It provides track in rocky surfaces, gravel, and even mud,” a representative at Yokohama said.

Geolandar A/T G015 also has a class-leading driving response and is as quiet as any passenger highway tire. This is a pleasant surprise as usually all-terrain tires cause tread noise and harshness. The steering feel is predictable in way that inspires driver confidence whether its tarmac, rocks, grass, mud or sand.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON YOKOHAMA GEOLANDAR A/T G015.

Yokohama backs the Geolandar with a 60,000 mile / 5year limited treadwear warranty along with a free 30day trial period. For your Outback, it should come in at about $165, and you can buy yours at Vivid Racing today.

Sources: Tire Track; Yokohama; interview conducted with representative at Yokohama (10/13/2020).

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Car Engineer

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